Murweh talks changes to stock routes
AT PUBLIC hearings this week, councils discussed changes to stock route legislation and heard submissions from other shires and lobby groups.
Stock routes in Murweh Shire not only provide a lifeline for cattle moving south during drought but are put to use by beekeepers, motorcyclists, horse enthusiasts and graziers.
The move to manage stock routes from local governments is unprecedented.
Landholders may be forced to fence off stock routes or pay usage fees which may be charged at different rates in different councils.
"There is an onus on local governments to self-manage and fund and a lot of uncertainty from landholders,” local stock route supervisor Erron Heinemann said.
"How do we find the funds to manage the stock routes? It is muddy water.”
Charleville Mayor Annie Liston said council prefers to accept whatever guidelines are passed down.
"We are just sitting back because they [councils] don't know what the end result will be and we will hear in due course,” Cr Liston said.
Key aspects of the new legislation include the development of a single act allowing local governments draw up their own agreements with landholders regarding management and use of facilities and pastures. The state proposes that local governments determine the upper limits of imposed fees.
LGAQ proposes all or part of those funds must be used to manage the stock route network.
M&L Carriers' Maurie Moffatt, who has a permit to occupy on an adjoining stock route next to his property near Charleville, said Murweh Shire Council should have talked to landholders and taken their opinions to the hearings.
Augathella grazier and AgForce South West Regional Director Guy Newell said the meetings were a chance for local authorities to figure out what new role they would play.
"It is important to network with other shires and see what they are doing,” Mr Newell said.